Rishabh Pant Will Be In T20 World Cup Squad For Sure

The news is that two weeks prior to the IPL 2024, BCCI’s medical team had released a statement to give a green light to Rishabh Pant – after a horrific accident involving his life and death back in December 2022 – returning as a wicketkeeper-batter for his Delhi Capitals. Yet there were worries too, given it was a grueling year and two months of recuperation from such an ordeal where even simple actions would remind him of what he went through.

The Indian team administration was aware of the fact that the return of Pant behind the stumps would take time and they would suggest DC not rush into this either. With this in mind, selecting their best choice wicketkeeper for the next T20 World Cup in the Caribbean & USA – beginning seven days after the finish on 26 May – was a top priority for the national think-tank. Jitesh Sharma and Ishan Kishan were at the forefront as Pant had been alternated with them.

Although Capitals’ team selection sheet had Pant listed as the captain and wicket-keeper for the team in their first match of the tournament against Punjab Kings, he has shown no less performance than any other player yet, thus relegating backups Shai Hope and Tristan Stubbs to the bench. After spending a brief time in his comeback innings, Pant excelled with both bat and gloves as he cleared both batting and keeping examinations during his competitive cricket return after an absence of 453 days.

It seems as if the Delhi Capitals’ Head Coach Ricky Ponting and Cricket Director Sourav Ganguly are not reluctant to announce that Pant is already on track once again, much farther ahead than his rivals, and ready to beat his competitors for an international comeback in the World Cup in the Caribbean.

Ganguly was hopeful about Pant’s selection into the Indian World Cup team when he said, “I think so, yeah, I think yes,” at the media day of DC in New Delhi. Like in any sport, only 15 can make it, but as in any sport, it happens, the most equipped and the better ones play, and I think Pant is definitely in that bracket. I’m sure he’ll be going to West Indies,” commented the former BCCI president.

“The middle order suits him well,” specified Ganguly. However, identifying an ideal spot for batting in T20 is a real challenge due to a number of parameters, including match-ups between bowlers and batsmen, right-left hand combinations, and game conditions. It is almost impossible to decide which player’s fixed position is – no. 3 or no. 7 in T20 cricket because it does not follow any pattern,” commented Ganguly on the most appropriate slot where Pant can bat.

Pant has been consistently wearing the gloves in all eight matches of DCs IPL 2024 campaign far performing as the teams top scorer, with 254 runs at an average of 36.29 and a strike rate just above 150. While the statistics may suggest a return of his past form Pant has indeed showcased a gradual comeback to his explosive batting style. Overcoming doubts about his comeback undergoing rehabilitation and delivering composed performances like scoring 18 off 13 in his comeback match followed by a Pant esque innings of 55 off 25 against KKR three matches later. His impressive performances have propelled him into the top 15 batsmen of the season making him the sole representative from DC on that list.

Ponting elaborated on how the young cricketer, aged 26 has regained confidence in his condition while coping with increased workload over the weeks. “It’s evident that he has improved with each game ” commented Ponting, on Pants progress.

He’s getting a bit more trust and belief in the body as well. Early on he had been a little bit apprehensive about what he can do, especially the wicketkeeping side of it. He had done a little bit batting coming into the tournament, so he had pretty good faith in what his leg can do with the bat in the hand, I’d say, but what we are seeing with his ability to play every game as a batter so far, I think he’s getting better and better by the game.

I have been asked this question about three or four times over the past fortnight since he came back to playing what could be his last chance at playing in the World Cup? I think he will definitely be in the squad. Too good of a player and can have too much influence on the games for India to leave him out.

One of the players who has shared the Dc dugout with Pant and also played with him for India was Axar Patel, who revealed Pant’s evolution following the crash. ‘The Rishabh Pant I am seeing after 1.5 years is more mature now, I think more patience in him now.

He even talks very maturely now. He talks about the middle, about backing the team and finishing games, whereas earlier it was always, yaron, listen to me, I came to show you this, I came to prove something.’ He is still the same with the bat in hand, he still scores runs the way he always did, oh my god, and he is fearless on the field, the same backing his shots – but he is calmer now, he doesn’t snap as much, over the smallest things.

Ponting remarke­d that while Pant has a fresh view on life­ now, his approach and mindset on the field re­main steadfast.
As a cricketer, he­ hasn’t transformed much, Ponting admitted truthfully. Pant’s perce­ption of existence might diffe­r slightly from before. He confronte­d petrifying moments. Consider the­ accident alone, yet the­ notion of never indulging in his passion would terrify anyone­. His injury severity – when I first e­ncountered him during last year’s IPL – astonishe­d me. I must confess

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